Softwood dispute with U.S. sees B.C. looking to sell lumber in China, India

By The Canadian Press
November 29, 2016 - 5:31pm

Photo credit: BC Government

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s finance minister says the prospect of a reignited trade dispute with the United States over Canadian softwood lumber exports has the province looking for new customers in China and India.

Mike de Jong says the U.S. remains B.C.’s largest market for softwood lumber exports, but the province has been finding new lumber customers in China and India.

B.C. forest industry and government representatives are in Asia on a lumber trade mission and de Jong recently returned from India on a similar mission.

The election of protectionist-friendly Donald Trump as U.S. president prompted the U.S. Lumber Coalition to recently petition the American government to impose duties against Canadian lumber.

De Jong says a trade dispute with the U.S. has economic consequences for B.C. and Canada, but it also hurts the millions of Americans whose jobs rely on trade.

The 2006 softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. expired a year ago and a one-year standstill period has not produced a new deal.

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